Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.0 Operational Questions

    • 1.1 The timer is not communicating with the computer software?

      The most common reason is that you don't have a driver installed for the Serial to USB converter. You can find the drivers on the website of the manufacturer.

      We have used MicroInnovations and Alcor in the past. We currently are selling the Sabrent converter. Follow this link for more.

      Did you use DerbyMaster and change to GrandPrix? Your timer may have been switched to the DTX mode of communication. You can tell which mode it's in by what the displays read when you turn it on. If you see SL on the displays, the timer is in the native SmartLine mode. If you see dd, the timer is in DTX mode. If this is the case and you are not using DerbyMaster, contact us by email (nfritz@etekgadget.com) or call (845-229-5189) for the method to reset the timer.


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      1.2 How do you set up the serial to USB?

      There is a CD with the USB to serial converter. Follow the instruction given by the manufacturer using the CD to install the driver. Most manufacturers advise installing the driver from the CD or their website before plugging the cable into the computer. If you don't have the CD or need documentation for installation, follow this link to the manuals page to find information on drivers for USB to serial converters that we've sold.


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      1.3 The timer shows a dot on the display. What does that mean?

      The start gate is open when the timer resets. The dot will disappear when the gate is closed. If it does not then the start switch is not mounted properly under the start gate or the signal is not getting to the timer. You may use LineSetup3.exe to see if the switches are working.


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      1.4 The timer shows a lower case c on the display. What does that mean?

      There is an object breaking the sensor beam and the timer can not reset. Here are some suggestions to check:
      You can test the sensors by shining an incandecent light (old style flashlight or desk lamp) into the sensor. The c should go out.
      The sensors are very sensitive and even a piece of dust could cause this. You can blow it out or use a Q-tip with some water to clean it.
      Make sure that the LED is pointed straight down toward the sensor. The LED can not be seen by eye but it shines like a flashlight. There may be a dim ring in the beam and a small adjustment may be needed. It is possible to see the LEDs beams with some digital cameras if the room is dark enough.
      The power supply must also be over 800mA for a 6 or 8 lane timer. Finally, check that the wires have not been pinched causing this problem.


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      1.5 The time shown in the GrandPrix software is 0.0001. What does that mean?

      The start switch is not installed properly. The timer records the first car as 0 when the start switch does not start the timing. The GrandPrix changes race time values from 0 to 0.001 because it uses 0 as a 'did not finish' indicator.


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      1.6 Do I need the start switch and how do I mount it?

      You need it if you are using race management software. The race management software uses time for scoring. You can run the race without a start switch, but the times will not be useful. The timer starts timing as the first car crosses the finish and it will always be 0.000.


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      1.7 Is your sensor affected by sunlight or camera flashes?

      Our timer is not affected by camera flashes since they do not contain infrared light. The sensors are affected by direct sunlight. We did not see any problems when it was cloudy or hazy. The sunlight on a clear day did interfere with the sensors. The lower angle of the sunlight is a problem because it can shine under the car. This is more evident if the car is higher up off the track. It is also more of a problem if the sensors are flush with the track rather than recessed down into the track.

      We suggest that you shade the timer by building a little carport with some scraps of wood or use a tent.

      The strength and angle of the sunlight along with the depth of the sensor in the track determine when the sensor will trigger. The height of the car was also a factor in when the sensor triggered. When the sun is shining under the nose of the car it will trigger later. When we tested this on our metal track where the sensors are flush with the track, the crayon car did not trigger until just in front of the wheels. The sensors are recessed into our test track by 5/16". This helped but the car still triggered a fraction of an inch later than when the timer was shaded.

      If you put a covering over your timer or have a nice cloudy day, your timer will work just fine.

      An additional feature is that it will work with your portable drill battery. We have pictures that will aide you in building a connection portal for your battery on the Battery Operated page.


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      1.8 Can you explain the solution used to lube the rubber bands for the space cars?

      You need a mixture of two parts "GREEN SOAP", one part "GLYCERIN" and one part water for lubricating the rubber bands.

      I was told that tincture green soap and glycerin can be found at your nearest Wal-Mart, if not on the shelf, ask for it. They can usually get it within 24 hrs if ordered early in the day.

      Green soap is a soft soap made from vegetable oils with sodium or potassium hydroxide in concentrations adjusted to retain glycerol.

      You can find glycerin at a pharmacy such as CVS (Pure Glycerin 4 OZ).


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      1.9 Why won't my photo finish capture device work?

      We have updated our photo finish to work with Windows 7 or newer operating systems. Our new photo finish capture device is the Diamond One Touch. If you have a Hauppauge capture device, you must use a Windows operating system older than Vista. Please contact us through email if you have more questions.


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      1.10 What power supply do I use?

      The power supply or power adapter we use for our timers is a 12V 500mA center positive for the 4 lane or less and 1A for the 6 or 8 lane timers. You must have anything over 800mA for a 6 or 8 lane timer.


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  • 2.0 Ordering Questions

    • 2.1 I want to make sure I get everything I need. What else do I need to order besides the timer?

      All essentials are included, but here are some items you might want:

      Most people order race management software to run the races. View the race management software page.

      You will need a USB to serial converter because most computers no longer have serial ports. We have kept the serial output on the timer because of the cable length limitations of USB. Most people use the extension cables so they have the freedom to position the computer anywhere in the room. We offer the USB converter as seperate items because some people may have them or wish to purchase them later.

      A case is a great way to keep the timer safe and secure for many years of use. One of the most common problems is that the CDs are missing. It may help to have a case to keep everything together.


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      2.2 What information do I need when I order a timer?

      We need your race date, type of track, and dimensions of the track if it is a custom.


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      2.3 What software does your timer work with?

      We have verified our timer with the following major race management software packages:

      GrandPrix and DerbyMaster Race Management Software. GrandPrix has integrated the native command set and uses the full functionality of the timer.

      The race management software overview describes and provides links to these packages so that you may choose the package that you like the best. Each one has it's own strengths and they provide free demos.

      The GrandPrix V5 and above takes full advantage of our extensive commands. They implement the masking of lanes and allow you to change the photo finish delay settings from within their program.


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      2.4 Does the SmartLine timer display elapsed times or must I connect it to a laptop and purchase software?

      We offer a single or double sided version that displays the elapsed time under the larger 2.25" placement number on the front side of the timer.

      Our timer will also send the elapsed times for each car to a computer for use with any software package. The race management packages are convenient, but not necessary. We provide all the commands for you to write your own package. You may also use a terminal program, such as HyperTerminal, to read the results and record them manually.


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      2.5 How much clearance is there for the cars?

      The timer allows for 6 to 7 inches of clearance for the cars. This is a very generous clearance and allows you to race any type of car or truck.


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      2.6 Will your timer mount to a Magic track?

      Yes, it will. Follow this link to Derby Magic Mounting for details and pictures. Please contact us for more information.nfritz@etekgadget.com


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      2.7 Why should I choose a SmartLine timer?

      The SmartLine timer is a quality product made with state-of-the-art computer components.
      The resolution of the timer is better than 0.0001 seconds. We don't charge extra for the software functions. They are all enabled and ready for use. It is very easy to install. We make it to fit your track. View a list of the features.

      Our website offers a lot of resources that will help your race experience, and our customer support will help you with any difficulties you may have.

      We have sold thousands of timers with virtually no returns. See what our valued customers have to say in our Testimonials.


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      2.8 How big are the display numbers?

      The placement display numbers are 2 ¼ inches. Very bright and readable across a large room. The 1/2" time display is located on one side under the placement display.


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      2.9 Can I add lanes later?

      No. The timer is made to fit your track.

      If you intend to purchase an additional lane in the near future, then purchase a timer with the additional lane. You can use a spacer for the missing lane and set the timer to the number of lanes you wish to use. You would need only a piece of track about a foot long to use as a dummy lane for mounting purposes. Inquire with the track manufacturer about this.

      If you have a timer for a smaller track and want to upgrade, we suggest that you consider selling the timer you have and purchasing a new one. We could add parts and make new horizontal pieces but it is not practical.


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      2.10 Can I add items such as the retrofit sensors for a Space Derby® later?

      Yes - You may add any of the additional items at a later date very easily.

      For example:

      You may add the SmartLine Photo Finish Device and software at any time. It is a separate item so you can add it after some extra fund raising.

      If you have a 3 lane SmartLine Pinewood Derby® timer and you want a Space Derby® timer, you may purchase a Space Derby® sensor kit, a display and a connector. You would only need to return the displays for installation of the connector. You would use the computer and displays from the Pinewood timer and mount them on the Space Derby® frame that you have built with the plans provided on the Space Derby® Track page. If you have a 4 lane Pinewood timer then all you need is the Space Derby® Sensor kit. Please note that you do need the Complete Space Derby® Timer if you do not already have a SmartLine Timer. We can not support the use of any other timers with our Space Derby® Sensors.

      If you have a 3 lane timer and want to add another lane at a later date, you would only need to purchase a Pinewood Derby® sensor kit that includes a new sensor bar, detectors and the Plexiglas panel. You would also need to purchase 1 display and connector. Please contact us or call us at (845) 229-5189 for details.


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      2.11 How easy is it to purchase a SmartLine Finish Line Timer?

      You may pay with a credit card or check.

      We recommend using the PayPal Order Form. You do not need a PayPal account to use it. You just need a valid email account. This is the only way that we can accept credit card orders.

      You may pay with a check or money order. Use the standard Order Form, print it out, SUBMIT it and send your check. Read about CHECK OR MONEY ORDER PURCHASES below for details.

      You may browse through the Price List page to get an idea of what the price will be and then go to the appropriate order form to purchase your timer.

      CREDIT CARD PURCHASES:
      If you are paying with a credit card you will use the PayPal Order Form. Take a moment to browse this form. Nothing will be added to your shopping cart unless you select it. It can also be removed or changed at any time.

      Even if you don't have a PayPal account, you will be prompted through 4 simple steps.

      For new buyers, signing up for a PayPal account is now optional. This means you can complete payments first, and then decide whether to save your information for future purchases. The purchase process is more convenient.

      When you decide to make a purchase, you are walked through four easy steps:
      Shipping information -- Enter your name and shipping address.
      Billing information -- Enter your credit card information, email address and phone number. You also have the option to send a message to us.
      Review of payment information -- Review what you've entered to make sure it's correct. You can either edit the information or complete the checkout process.
      Save customer information with PayPal (optional) -- To shop more quickly and easily in the future, you can save the personal information that you've already entered with PayPal. To create a PayPal account, all you need to do is choose a password and answer a few security questions.

      CHECK OR MONEY ORDER PURCHASES:
      If you are paying with check or money order, you will use the standard Order Form. The totals will automatically be updated for you as you select items to purchase. Please print the form out before selecting the Submit button. A confirmation page will be shown when the order is sent correctly and we will send you a notice via email that your order was received. We will process your order when the check or money order are received through the mail.

      Please make sure that you make the check out to Probe Products Corporation or Richard Fritz and send it to 36 Matuk Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538


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  • 3.0 Installation, Command and Setup Manuals

    • 3.1 How do I install the timer and where can I find information?

      BestTrack and Piantedosi are standard tracks that simply need to be attached to the track. A custom track needs to have the drilling done for the sensors to fit.

      The manuals page is a great resource for installing your timer. Visit the manuals page.


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  • 4.0 Payment and Shipping

    • 4.1 How long will it take to get the timer?

      Typically, orders take 2 weeks to ship. As it gets busy, shipping times will take more than 2 weeks. We try to ship it ahead of your race so you have time to test the timer.
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      4.2 What payment options are there?

      We accept checks or money orders through the mail. If you are sending a payment through the mail, we have a printable order form that calculates the price for you as you select items. We ask that you print out the order form before you submit it and send it with your check. When you submit the order form we immediately get a copy of the order so we can begin processing it right away, however we need to wait for the check to clear before we can ship the item.

      We can accept all major credit cards through PayPal. If you wish to pay with a credit card you need to use the PayPal order form.

      iPowerWeb is our hosting provider and your information is secure on an SSL certificate for Secure Socket Layer transmitting.

      We will email a detailed confirmation when we receive your order. If you do not receive a confirmation within 48 hours, please contact us at (845) 229-5189.

      We ship via UPS Ground unless you specify otherwise. Refer to the shipping and handling chart for details.


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  • 5.0 Warranties and Returns

    • 5.1 How do I return the timer for repair?

      If you are not satisfied with this product you may return it within 30 days of receipt in the original packaging for the purchase price of the equipment. Shipping and handling is not refundable.

      This product is guaranteed for 3 years for parts and service. The service does not include misuse.

      Please contact us before returning the unit for service by email or call us at (845) 229-5189.


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  • 6.0 Security and Privacy

    • 6.1 How secure is my information?

      The security and privacy of our customers is very important to us.
      Please review our privacy policy.


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